:::idiosyncratic ATC unison:::

Okay, this was a semi-fun, mostly difficult ATC project put on by


over at ... I've never done one of these "supply packet" projects before and I felt like a challenge (plus they had one last spot open, PLUS the hostess and I share the same birthday, weeee!) So yeah, let's do it!

Here's the basics

: Hostess sends an envelope full of arty scrappy supplies (roughly the same pieces to each player) including the back/blank - which you then use to create an ATC. The rules are - you MUST somehow incorporate a part of each different item supplied. And ONLY those items. No outside papers, paints, accents, pens - NOTHING. Only tools may be used such as glue, scissors, paintbrush and so on. Sounds fun and easy right? HAH! until you see the amount of


stuffed into that envelope and realize you now have to design and assemble an actual piece of art using ALL these things, none of which were of your choosing. Teabag? Match? Excuse me?

:::the supplies:::


random dictionary page (I got






page from vintage stamp collectors price guide


half sheet of printed vintage images


various tissue, mulberry, paper scraps - 5 pcs


Queen of Spades playing card


rectangle of cardstock w/pinked edges


used (public transport?) access swipecard


teabag, match, scrap of foil-tape, film negative


scrap of mylar type paper (silver on one side, black on the other)


postage stamp, piece of flower stem?, 2 bits of novelty yarn


baggies of: embossing powder (pink) and acrlyic paints - the silver was fine, the gold was dried

~ plus there was the project note and the card image to be used as ATC backing

And here's what I did with all that:


I distressed the original card image with a sanding block - I really wanted to keep as much of the original image as possible, just toned down - then used the teabag to teastain all the papers except the cardback, playing card, swipecard and mylar paper. I painted the edges of the postage stamp with the silver paint and adhered the embossing powder to it (


I don't emboss so I tried using an iron to "melt" it - it didn't look any different than if I'd glued it, so ... hope it holds!

) I cut stars and a half circle out of the foiltape and dried gold paint with a paperpunch, and attached these to the filmstrip piece. I tore and layered some tissue & mulberry paper onto a pocket I'd cut from half the teabag, and added a band of the mylar paper to the top, then glued that whole piece to the bottom of the ATC ... I added the postage stamp, the flower stem, a hand cut from the playing card and a couple more star cutouts to the card, as well as bits of text from the dictionary page and one of the vintage image pages. For the record:

I'm kinda ticked about the direction HRH's head is facing and I LOATHE the embossing powder but -eh-- whatever.

Front of card is finished.

For the second part

of my pocket ATC, I took the already teastained bit of plain paper and tore the ends to fit, then layered the other bit of mulberry paper, a small scrap of cardstock (

which was left intact & completely as-sent other than I teastained it

) plus an image from the stamp guide page - added the filmstrip section to the top and tied the two yarn bits through the holes on that. Flipped it over and added the pinked cardstock (

again - altered only with teastaining

) to which I glued a fun bit of instruction cut from the swipecard, which reads:

"Conditions of Use - Insert this direction. Please keep dry/do not fold."

Then I added another section from the playing card to the back of the ATC as well as my FAVORITE text section (

the one I knew I'd use right from the start

) a bit from the swipecard that read

"Not For Resale/Non Transferrable/Void If Altered"

and signed & dated it ~ gem 07-07-07 ~ VOI and LA! we are finished! Hooray!

ohhhhhh yeahhhhh

... what ABOUT that MATCH?

Well my original plan was to complete the card then strike the match and sorta burn the edges to give it a real old "I've survived some shit" feel ... but the match burned SO FAST and the card just wouldn't take (

you can so barely see any singeing right at the edge on the back where it reads "Not"

) that I ended up just using the burnt matchhead like charcoal, and edged parts of the pocket tag. I smudged it in though, so it's pretty much only visible in person, sorry!

Only things I used other than what was supplied: PPA glue, gluestick, shaped paperpunch, scissors, sanding block. *

And a lighter to light the match - that might be cheating, I dunno - but I don't have matchbooks here and tried to strike it on a bunch of other surfaces first, none of which worked, so I hadda improvise.

Anyway I'm not thrilled with this one as a whole, though I do like some of the parts - mostly the tag and the back of the ATC, but I did REALLY enjoy the process and the creative stretch I got -- and am totally looking forward to seeing the other submissions!

~ gem ~

Da NaNa NaNaNa, Ya Say It's Ya Birthdayyyy!

... well it's MY birthday too, yeah!

I'm trying to get this typed and posted before midnight so it get's timestamped while it's still actually my birthday, but my hand is swelling up & hurting so we'll see ...

(dogbite - not fun)

... Anyway!

I participated in a couple swaps at Swap-Bot recently and wanted to show the results; one was a Gemini Birthday swap which yessss even though my partners ALL sent my packages early, I did wait until today to open them. I have Extreme Willpower! Here they are, in no particular order:


(note: Apr 2014 - in going thru all the posts trying to update old broken image links - I have been unable to find copies of the pics for these swaps! Bummer ...)

All were excellent, thoughtful, well put-together packages and my swap partners really took care to read my profile and sent things perfectly suited to me - I loved EVERYTHING! So big thanks to them for making today a super special day :) I'll be trying to make the rating rounds tomorrow, at least before the weekend's over ...

Next stop:


! It's a week past the mailing deadline and I ended up with 18 out of 20 cards ... though at least one person sent 2 cards, so we'll see if those missing ones show up later. But for now ...



And here they are, at last! Really nice looking set of cards altogether, don't you think? I stacked the envelopes largest to smallest, then opened them and layed them out in that order - kinda funny how batches of similar hues/colors ended up together.

Fun swap, I'd totally do that one again sometime. And finally - a


unexpected surprise from my family - as usual I requested "no gift" and as usual they ignored me ... I hope I didn't ruin their excitement or fun in giving it, beacause I REALLY DO LOVE IT! but I realllly didn't want them $pending the money on me like that. But they did and there ya go. So anyway, here it is:

** again - had to dig thru my pic files to replace the originals and this was the earliest one I could find -

it didn't actually come with the stickers on it, that's just something I did later **

I KNOW, RIGHT!? It's great, I've casually mentioned wishing I had a sewing machine now and then (gee, they really DO listen, whatta ya know?) but I certainly didn't expect one. It's not the biggest fanciest thing ever but it looks pretty darn cool to me! I can't wait to get started using it, but since I'm a total sewing novice it's gonna take some time before I'm posting any of the

"Makings from the Machine"

, I'm sure. I can also pretty much guarantee a cutback in paperart stuff as soon as I learn how to work it, since I tend to get completely 1track for a time when it comes to new arenas / projects / etc ...

Bedtime now - I'm so tired and my hand hurts real bad. But otherwise it was a super duper birthday (even without cake or the song) and hopefully thats a sign for how this "new year" is gonna go ... which is what I'm doing right now! Going!

~ gem ~

ATC Mega Swap @ Swap-Bot

Okay! Finally have my sends ready for the

ATC Mega Swap over at Swap-Bot

. My original idea for this project when I signed up was to do one single art piece and then cut it up into the 20 required ATCs, and send those out. Kinda like a "One Part of a Whole" puzzle type thing ... Anyway to keep it more manageable, I ended up doing 2 seperate pieces that were 17.5" by 5" - which got me 10 cards on each piece. I kept it simple by doing my usual Sharpie Abstract background, but did one in my favorite Black, Red & White "fill-in" theme and the other I just randomly colored in with metallic markers in a green, purple and blue palette. And here's how it progressed:


I randomly drew lines in black Sharpie marker, bisecting and looping and dividing until I was satisfied with the overall layout and individual sections. Did the same for second piece.

Step 2

Then I started inking in my spaces, adding little designs - stripes and lines, bubbles, dots, squiggles, hearts and stars - my usual arsenal of random abstractyness. I just go by a mantra of "fill the space" when I do these - it's seriously the quickest and easiest method I know of creating original, fun looking art - and no "talent" required! I usually prefer to leave


whitespace, especially in this particular color scheme. Here are the stages of this process:

I then repeated the process for the second piece, only without the added design elements - I simply filled those spaces in with solid colors to give it a sort of stained glass effect. I also had to re-ink the black border lines on that piece, as the metallic markers dulled the ink whenever I strayed outside the margins. Which was often. Sadly, I didn't continue my photo documentation past the early stages on that one and have no finished piece to show (Roops!)

Last step was cutting them into the 20 individual cards, attaching a backplate to each with the swap name and the number of the piece as it corresponded to the original it came from (

1-A1, 2-E2, etc

...) then getting them into their envelopes, addressed & stamped and ready to roll!

I added images of the full size pieces to my

Flick'r page:





, with an


breakdown of which individual card came from what section


(was kinda hard to get those note boxes to just the right size, plus I'd already sealed up the cards by then and couldn't doublecheck the actual card "contents")

, so my partners can have a look at where their own card started out ... though the stained glass piece is a bit sad looking since I didn't photo it as a finished piece before I cut them

(what can I say?! - kids are set to get outta school this week and I been a busy mama with all the end-of-year activities and running around and stuff. I was lucky just to get the ARTWORK done!)

Anyhow - that's it ... Just thought ya might like to see what went into creating my ATC Mega Swap submissions ... and I hope you like'em, those of you who got one!

Happy swapping!

~ gem ~


Oh yeah, 2 things

... Number 1 - the PINK envelope in the mix there is a "WINNER" that I randomly chose from my partnerlist, they will get a new, personal piece of artwork made by me once they email me with their theme and choice

(ATC, 4x6, 4x4 or deco)

... AND secondly ...


have steadily been recieving my ATCs from this swap, but as I said from the start - I'm holding off opening them until I either get all 20 sends, or a week or so after the swap date passes. No kidding!



since I am no longer on Flickr, those links are dead